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Granger Smith aims to find son's 'little legacy' 18 months after tragic drowning

The country star shared how music has helped him heal from his 3-year-old son's death and how he keeps moving forward on "days where it feels like there's no hope."
/ Source: TODAY

More than a year after his 3-year-old son's tragic drowning death, country music star Granger Smith has used music as a healing tool as he takes life day by day.

"It has been a process and every day is different," Smith said on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Friday. "We try to hang on to the days where we find meaning and purpose, and spreading the message where we could help others that are going through something similar or anybody that's suffering."

It's been 18 months since Smith and his wife, Amber, lost their son River in a drowning at their home. While writing his new album, "Country Things, Vol. 2," has been therapeutic, he says there are still plenty of trying times.

"But there's other days where it feels like there is no hope, and we just keep pushing forward and pushing forward to find more meaning and to find his little legacy," he said.

Smith, 41, has been candid about his struggles, writing a raw message on Instagram in February about what he called "failure as a father" and the "deep shame" he felt in the wake of River's death.

Amber Smith has also shared her own struggles, whether it was feeling her son's loss on a family trip in June or watching with a feeling of dread as the couple's two other children, London, 8, and brother Lincoln, 6, play in the water.

Getting back in the studio to make his 10th album has helped Granger Smith cope with his son's loss. He also reworked one of his songs, "That’s Why I Love Dirt Roads," following his son's death.

"It's always been such a healing thing for me to make music," he said. "I've never been one to keep a diary and a journal, but I could express my feelings and my thoughts through music and lyrics and melodies. I've been doing that since I was a teenager, so it only felt natural to go in and make a record.

"And I don't necessarily have to be specific on things that are happening in my life to still be able to express those emotions through music. It's a big healing thing for me."

Smith would tell his young self to savor everyday life if he could go back in time.

"If I could talk to that teenager, I would say: 'Buddy, just enjoy today, enjoy this moment, every moment you have on stage, singing a song. Just live there, be there, because tomorrow is never guaranteed," he said.